Farm murders Afriforum

Photo: Pixabay

Farm murders: DA’s six-point plan to stop brutal attacks revealed

One of the most infamous crimes in South Africa often makes international headlines. But do the DA have a practical solution to stop farm murders?

Farm murders Afriforum

Photo: Pixabay

The rural communities of South Africa have been living in fear, as dozens of farm murders are recorded across the country each year. Despite only accounting for 0.2% of all homicides in Mzansi, the brutal crimes are spooking farmers – and even prompted Donald Trump into Tweeting about the situation last year.

The facts and figures on farm murders

The crime stats for 2018/19 indicate that there were 47 farm murders in 41 recorded incidents. According to the report, robberies made up 22 of these events, while seven were classified as attempted murders. These figures are still pretty grim, but the total amount of killings has come down from 62 in the previous year.

With several high-profile cases making international headlines, the DA has taken it upon themselves to champion a solution to this issue. For years, they have been calling for SAPS intervention on the matter. On Tuesday, they presented their own blueprints to keep rural citizens safe from farm murders and attacks.

Their six-point plan – delivered by Shadow Minister of Police Andrew Whitfield – looks to completely stamp-out violent crimes committed on our farms. They have submitted their proposals to SAPS, and hope that their requests will soon be adopted into law. Here’s what they are proposing.

Rural Safety Plan – how the DA plan to prevent farm murders:

Establish rural policing centres

Police stations that serve a mainly rural area need to create at least one dedicated rural sector as part of its regional policing structure and plan

Deploy more officers to rural areas to limit farm murders

Each rural sector will require boots on the ground to ensure communities feel safer and to deter criminals.

Embolden “community policing”

With SAPS being short-staffed as ever, there simply aren’t enough cops to go around. The proposed solution? Allow rural safety plans to be customised at a local station level, alongside community volunteers.

Introduce the Rural Community Policing Unit (RCPU)

Blurring the lines between neighbourhood watch and SAPS, “RCPU reservists” will work just like SAPS reservists, receive specific rural police training and allow paid volunteers to act as “part-time rural officers”.

Farm murders: Improve the support networks for police and volunteers 

Citizen Band (CB) networks, radio rooms, rural policing by drone, a rural radio safety station and additional financial support have been identified as tools to bolster communication between each potential RCPU.

Create new structures within SAPS

  • A Rural Crime Intelligence Division (RCID) function will help collate, process and share rural safety information and work mostly at a district level.
  • Meanwhile, a Provincial Rural Safety Directorate (PRSD) will use tip-offs to mitigate threats in rural communities.

Can the Rural Safety Plan prevent farm murders?

Through a network of volunteers, improved communication and new departments for SAPS, Whitfield is convinced that he and his party have cracked the code. He even suggested that those who join the rural safety units could be fast-tracked to positions in SAPS, and stated every participant should be paid fairly:

“Our rural safety plan aims to guarantee community-based policing in rural areas and will focus on the unique challenges experienced by each district. RCPU reservists must get paid for their work and expenses. This system will act as a foot in the door for those looking to join the SAPS on a permanent basis.”

“The only changes that SAPS should review are the qualifications and minimum requirements for reservists. There is therefore no reason why the SAPS cannot implement this plan immediately. It does not require any legislative, regulatory or policy change. The model proposed is constitutional.”

Andrew Whitfield